David Daniell and Doug McCombs – Sycamore

January 01, 1970

(Thrill Jockey)




Two guitars meet without touching. Here, one is altered to a
pastel wash, one allowed to resonate in abstract but linear progressions of
notes. There, one blisters with rock-solo distortion, the other glistens like a
mirage of clear water. Everywhere they are in motion, unhurried yet
unrepetitive, moving to the front then behind, in a soft-focus dance of tone,
melody and atmosphere.


The two guitars belong to David Daniell (of San Agustin,
solo work and frequent avant collaborations) and Doug McCombs (of Tortoise,
Brokeback and Eleventh Dream Day). They join in four extended compositions,
culled from many hours of live experimentation, then meticulously layered,
edited, juxtaposed and reconfigured in the studio. Two drummers add minimal
accents and textures. Chicago
jazzman Frank Rosalo drops eerie gongs and cymbal slashes into cathedral-vast
“Bursera,” then swats brush-y rhythms under “The Deshabille.”  John Herndon (also of Tortoise) sits in for
“Vejer de la Frontera”, the most time-tethered and lovely of these cuts.  His sticks, cymbals and tom rolls build an
undertow under placid pools of altered electric guitar notes.


Guitars do not always sound like guitars here, often
shedding their physical six-stringed form to take on the semblance of pure
disembodied tone. Yet sometimes, just to remind you, a flamenco run of notes
interjects, a pedal steel moans, a bit of electric buzz jars, and mystery turns
deeper for its inclusion of the everyday.


Standout Tracks: “Vejer de la Frontera”, “Bursera” JENNIFER


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